Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sometimes It’s Best to Suck it Up and Skip the Gym

This topic is hot on my mind as I’ve been sick for a week. I know it’s hard to accept, but sometimes the best thing to do is skip a sweat sesh and stay in bed.

Hit the gym or stay in bed

I’ve written about this in the past but it seems like a good time to revisit it; not only because I’ve been sick, but because it’s that time of year! This cold/flu thingy is making its rounds.

While I’ve been sick I have gone to the gym a few times – the first for a run on the treadmill, once for a walk/run and the third for just a swift walk, all at incline – and I put a box of Kleenex in one of the cup holders for that last workout! Woody found this amusing, I can only imagine what the others in the gym thought.

We all have different tolerance levels, but here’s a good guide to go by.

Get moving when:

  • You have mild symptoms like congestion, sniffy nose or a sore throat and can breathe without much trouble (Just be extra sure to wipe of any machines you use at the gym so you don’t spread germs!)

Pull the covers up when:

  • You have a fever
  • You’re coughing and your lungs hurt
  • You have no appetite or are dehydrated
  • Every muscle aches
  • The thought of getting out of bed is exhausting – or, you’re just really tired

If you do lace up, be sure to listen to your body as it’s not a great idea to push beyond your limits when you’re sick. Save that for when your immune system isn’t already working overtime!

Also, think about altering your workout to turn down the intensity a little – maybe go for a walk or walk/run instead of a full out run; trade burpees for lunges and monster walks. You’ll still get your heart pumping and satisfaction out of breaking a sweat. Then do your best to refuel with nutrient dense foods and lots of water!

Tomorrow morning I'm hitting the gym. Here's hoping it goes well and I'll be back to my usual self soon!

Do you take time off when you’re sick? * What gets you to skip a workout?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Running. What I Haven’t Been Doing.

If you’ve been reading my blog much this year, even though I haven’t posted very often you’ve probably gotten the idea that I haven’t been running much. All year.

You might remember that last year I had two stress fractures. One in my left femur during the Spring when I was training for the Broad Street Run which I was supposed to run over my Birthday weekend during a trip to Philadelphia. We cancelled the trip.

In the Fall I fractured my left femur again while I was running the Detroit Half Marathon. Different spot but worse this time. I knew immediately that something was wrong and ran limping across the finish line. I called my Sports Doc’s answering service from Detroit Metro Airport to schedule an appointment for the next day and was on crutches as soon as we got back to our apartment.

My goal for this year was to get through the year without any stress fractures. I needed to fully heal before running again, then limit my running and focus on strengthening my bones. Unfortunately, no matter how many times I wish for it, it’s not that easy to strengthen bones. I can take calcium and vitamin D but until I get my annual bone scan, it’s not possible to know if there’s any progress. It’s incredibly frustrating. I just have to hope that my diet and supplements are working.

I’ve only run five races this year. The only year I’ve run less than five races since I started running 6 years ago was last year. I’ve gone weeks without running. When I first realized I had to cut back dramatically on running I was incredibly frustrated and sad. I’m sure you understand. When you’re dealing with an injury it’s hard to stop running. Your mind and body want to be out there running. Moving. Working up a sweat and pushing yourself. Let’s just say there were a few tears.

I hate to admit though, over the past months I’ve gotten used to not running. I’ve gotten a bit lazy. I spend a lot of time at the gym but I haven’t been pushing as hard as I probably should because I’ve been afraid. I just want to get through a calendar year without a stress fracture.

This is where I’ve been working up a sweat this year.


Yeah, not too exciting.

Now that I’m almost there, I don’t want to jinx it, and of course, my goal will only move further out. But next year I’m hoping to get out there, run more and get back to my old running shape. Or at least closer to it. It’s something I love and I want back in my life. I have a feeling it’ll take a bit of time to get back into the groove and choose the cold over the warmth and easy nature of the gym, but I have confidence it’ll come back.

On a happier note, after going to the gym and doing laundry Sunday morning Woody and I spent the afternoon traipsing around town Christmas shopping and checking out different holiday fairs. This is from Bryant Park. (I think we have around 100 pictures of us that we’ve taken. Apologies for the close-up.)




  • Have you ever had to take a year, or several months and dial-down your running to get healthy again? How did you get back into a routine?
  • How did you spend your weekend?
  • Who raced this weekend?
  • It was 50’ when we left for the gym at 5 this morning. Is it weirdly warm where you are too?


Today’s workout -

  • 40min elliptical
  • 3x10 weighted side bends
  • 3x12 upright row
  • 3x12 bicep push-down
  • 3x12 hammer curls
  • ab exercises
  • stretching

Monday, January 30, 2012

Locks on the Bridge

I’ve had a pretty eventful few days, and the week is just starting! Is it bad to be looking forward to next weekend already?

Friday afternoon I left work early for an appointment with my Sports Doc. I’m happy to say that she said I’m healing well and she’s happy with how I’m doing. Unfortunately, still no word of when I’ll start running and still a month till I can go to yoga (one of my goals for 2012 is to take more yoga classes consistently through the year). So, still pretty light workouts for me till I see her again in a month. I’m happy she’s happy, but it’s frustrating that so much time has gone by and still no running in sight.

While I was sitting in the waiting room and was checking my work emails I got the one I’ve been hoping to get for the past two weeks. During the holidays I was working on a team that was putting together a pitch for a new business account. We found out just after the holidays that we made it to the second round and I was asked to go out to Minneapolis for the pitch. We went, we were cold, we rocked it. Then, we waited. And waited. Finally Friday afternoon our VP got the call that we had won the account! I was so freaking excited when I read the email that I almost jumped around in the waiting room! I think the receptionist may have thought I had temporarily lost my mind because I was smiling so much. I’ve worked on a few new business pitches before, but this was the first that got to the in-person pitch and then won! And I love the company too, so it’s even better! So, the non-news about running didn’t hurt so hard when I had this great news going into it.

Saturday’s weather was so fantastic that I was determined we wouldn’t spend the afternoon inside. After our workouts and trip to Trader Joe’s, we headed out for a walk to Brooklyn across the bridge. We were hoping that it wouldn’t be too crowded because it was still pretty chilly and it is the middle of winter. We’ve only gone during the summer and fall before when it’s packed with tourists. Well, there were quite a few people on the bridge. Guess they had the same idea! We headed over the bridge, walked around DUMBO for a bit checking out a few bookstores, dreaming about the pastries at Almondine and the chocolate at Jacques Torres and then headed to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Hey, we had to celebrate Friday’s awesome news somehow, right?

Random Fact 1: DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass

Random Fact 2: Even if it’s delicious, eating ice cream outside in 43’ weather will make you really, really cold.

We had three ways to get home. Subway, East River Ferry and walking. We chose to walk and work off a few more calories. On the way back, we discovered something we had never seen before.



There were padlocks all over the bridge and many of them had names, hearts and dates. I had to Google this and what I found out (there was a NY Daily News article back in November)…

About five years ago, Romans started imitating characters in the book “Ho Voglia di Te” (“I Want You”) by Federico Moccia and it has spread to other European cities before coming to New York. Apparently it is mostly done by tourists trying to leave their mark of enduring love on the Brooklyn Bridge. What a romantic gesture, isn’t it? As a New Yorker, part of me thinks it’s crazy since these locks will probably be gone not long after they’re put there, but I love the romanticism at the same time. Doesn’t surprise me that this idea is from a European novel.

Sunday was not so romantic. I had to cut my workout short because I had a follow up MRI for Cushing’s Disease. I haven’t had one since July 2010, so it’s time for a check. I am confident that it’ll still be all clear, but it’s still a tiny bit worrisome. Thankfully the staff at the Imaging Center at Weill Cornell are amazing. Every time I’ve been there I’ve had nothing short of a good experience. They’re all extremely nice, willing to strike up a conversation and they don’t rush you through the process. They understand patients are on edge and need a friendly smile, not a cold hand.

After, Woody and I had brunch in our old neighborhood then took a walk to see what’s changed. It’s hard to believe that in April I will have lived in NYC for 8 years, and it will have been 7 years since I moved out of my first apartment here. Crazy how time flies, isn’t it?

  • How did you spend your weekend?
  • What great things have happened in your life recently?
  • Would you leave a lock on the Brooklyn Bridge to show your love for someone?


Today’s workout -

  • 2x15 cable twists (ea. side)
  • 2x15 weighted side bends (ea. side)
  • 35min elliptical
  • 2x50sec plank
  • 100 ab exercises
  • stretching

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Happened to Prevention?

I don’t think many of us were surprised to hear the other day that Paula Deen was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, but maybe a little surprised that she was diagnosed 3 years ago. Before I get too far into this, let me say that I feel horrible for anyone who has to face this horrible disease, and would never wish it on anyone. That being said, I was a little annoyed when she revealed to Al Roker on the “Today Show” Tuesday morning that she was diagnosed so long ago and just now felt like it was time to tell her millions of fans who take pride in making the butter-drenched dishes she promotes on her shows and in her magazine. I totally get the need to keep private matters private, at least for a time, but she has many platforms available to her that can use to help others, three years seems like a long time to me.

During her “Today Show” interview and in subsequent print interviews, like the one she did for THIS article in the New York Times, Deen recounts preaching that everything should be enjoyed in moderation, she won’t blame herself and stresses that Type 2 can be caused by a host of things beyond diet and who gets it is a sort of “Russian Roulette game'”. Type 2 can be caused by inactivity, age, excess weight, high calorie diets, family history and heredity. We can’t do anything about our family history or our race, but we can do something about what we eat and how active we are. I found it particularly interesting that while she stressed genetics as a factor in multiple interviews, she also said that her grandmother cooked and ate the same way she did and didn’t have it. Maybe it was just me, but it seems as though she’s still in a bit of denial that her diet has something to do with her diagnosis. She has given up sweet tea and is eating smaller portions, though.

Here’s the thing. While I’m glad she’s come out and told the world she has this condition, which may make some people take note about their own lives and see their doctor, it’s interesting that the official announcement came the same day her new multi-platform endorsement of the Novo Nordisk medication (which costs $500/month) was launched. I’m also concerned that she may be more focused on controlling the disease with the and the “lighter” meals she and her sons will promote on the new website, than encouraging prevention. Yes, life doesn’t have to stop for people with Diabetes, but people don’t have to get it, either. She and her sons will be paid by the Pharma company to promote the drug, and as it turns out, they announced Wednesday that they’ll be donating a portion of their profits to charity. What charity and how much? Who knows.

We tend to focus so much time, effort and money on trying to cure or control diseases rather than preventing them. While we all need to take responsibility for our own lives and the choices we make along the way, sometimes we also need a little guidance once in a while. We’re all experts in certain things, but we’re not all experts in health and nutrition and look to others to help us along. While I would never look to Deen for advice on nutrition, it’s a shame that with such a huge following, she’s more focused on promoting a drug rather than promoting a healthy lifestyle which could possibly help prevent the disease from affecting many of her fans to begin with. Hopefully out of all this hoopla, people who are at risk will start making changes and listening to health experts to turn things around and live healthy lives. At the same time, hopefully those who are on a healthy road will stay there!

Approximately 26 million Americans have Diabetes, 90% of whom have the highly preventable Type 2. Let’s focus on spreading the word about healthy eating, staying active and lowering obesity rates and in turn, hopefully, keep people from getting this horrible disease.

Okay, I’m done with my rant. Thanks for reading!

  • What do you think about Paula Deen’s announcement and diagnosis?
  • What are your thoughts about prevention vs treatment?


Today’s workout -

  • 2x15 cable side twists (ea. side)
  • 2x15 squatting row
  • 2x20 kick-backs
  • 35min elliptical
  • 1x40sec plank
  • 1x35sec superman hold
  • stretching

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Larabar Strikes Again

Really, how do they keep coming up with great recipes? It seems like they just keep pumping out new flavors.

Last week, on a particularly crazy and stressful day, I received a fantastic surprise package in the mail! A little box filled with delicious goodness.


Larabar had sent me a few bars of their new flavor – Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte. I love chocolate and I love cherries, so I was immediately curious and had high hopes for this new flavor. The cherry pie flavor is one of my favorite, but it’s quite tart and sometimes it’s a little too tart so I was a little worried it would be the same with this one.

I was wrong, it was delicious! The chocolate and cherry flavors are really well balanced, making it a nice indulgent treat with all the simple goodness that we’re used to from Larabar.

I have not tried all of the Larabar flavors, mostly because some of them just have too many calories for me – boarding on meal replacement – so I stick to those that are around 190 or 200 calories. Sometimes I’ll splurge on a day I’ve done a particularly long run or hard workout and have a peanut butter chocolate chip bar that has 220 cals. The Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte comes in a little high in fat at 12 grams and sugar with 23grams, but on the relatively low side of the calories scale at 190.

The ingredients are simple – dates, almonds, cashews, unsweetened cherries, chocolate chips (Fair Trade certified), and a little sea salt. See, it is possible to have great tasting packaged food without all the extra, unnecessary ingredients that are impossible to even pronounce. Now, only if they’d use Michigan cherries!

With all this in mind, I’m pretty sure I’ll be having this one again in the near future.

Thanks for the deliciousness, Larabar! I’m hooked!

  • Do you have a favorite Larabar flavor?
  • What’s your go-to snack?


Today’s workout -

  • 40min stationary bike
  • 2x20 seated row
  • 2x18 lat pull down
  • 2x20 upright row
  • 2x16 back extension
  • stretching
  • ab exercises

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Incredibly Cheap and Easy Comfort Dinner

Again, it’s been a while since I talked food. This summer has thrown me deep into a salad rut but I’m hopeful that the turn of seasons will help me snap out of it and get me back to cooking.

Tuesday night we definitely needed something other than salads. The entire day was cold and dreary; perfect for a warm, comforting dinner. Since I first tried the heat-and-eat polenta from Trader Joe’s last year I’ve made it once every month or so, with various toppings and methods of cooking. Tuesday night was another try, one Woody ended up really liking! The best part about it, I think it’s the easiest preparation I’ve tried and super cheap!

So here it is, super easy, super cheap:

Ingredients -

  • 1 package TJ’s polenta
  • 1 1/4cup TJ’s Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa (it’s really chunky and has a little kick)
  • 1/4cup small broccoli florets
  • 5 thin slices, sharp cheddar cheese

Preparation -

  • Pre-heat oven to 350’
  • Spray pie plate with non-stick cooking spray
  • Slice polenta into 8 even slices, place in pie plate
  • Spread broccoli over polenta slices evenly
  • Cover with salsa
  • Place in oven, bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove from oven, cover with cheese slices overlapping slices of polenta
  • Put back in oven, bake for another 10 minutes
  • Remove and serve

Now, Polenta is pretty high in sodium, so to try and balance that out I always look for tomatoes with no salt added. And while this isn’t necessarily the healthiest meal, it isn’t too bad either, especially when compared with other comfort dinners! And you can’t beat the price, this came in well under $10 for the entire dish. And of course, you can start with a little side salad! Woody really liked this dinner, so I’m bound to try it again and make a few tweaks along the way.


  • What’s your favorite go-to easy to prepare comfort dinner?


Today’s workout -

  • ab exercises
  • 4mile run
  • stretching

Friday, August 19, 2011

Five for Friday

1. Thursday was my Friday this week, I have today off!! Even better, we’re not traveling, so I have the day to enjoy right here in town. That doesn’t meant I don’t have things to do though. On my list: post office to renew my passport so I can run the Detroit Half Marathon, a little SoHo shopping (I try to avoid the area on the weekend), lunch with April at Tu-Lu’s, maybe a stop at the Farmer’s Market, hopefully a little reading and who knows, maybe even a visit to Red Mango! I am very much looking forward to today, and hoping it won’t rain much. I truly think it’s essential that we all have a mental health day every once in a while to recharge. So important.

2. We’ve been hearing a lot over the past few years about the risk of concussions in sports and the high numbers of concussions that go undiagnosed, in both professional and school sports. There are a lot of people and organizations are trying to protect athletes from concussions in many ways, more recently Dick’s Sporting Goods. Earlier this week they announced a new CSR campaign called Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education (PACE) that will fund testing of athletes in over 3,300 schools nationwide. The program will test athletes at the start of a season to create a baseline picture of their neurological functioning so that if the student is diagnosed with a concussion (or one is suspected), they can perform the test again and compare the results to see if there is any damage. You can read more about it HERE. The takeaway is that for every pair of shoes bought at a Dick’s store or online, every check-in on Foursquare, or whenever someone shares info on the program on Facebook or uses the hashtag #DSPACE on Twitter, the company will pledge $1 to the program. So, start tweeting!

3. Do you know about GOOD Magazine? They have really thought provoking and interesting stories on topics like health, food, design, technology and more. Recently, they’ve held two design competitions that look at how we buy food – a new food label and the SUPERMARKET of the future. I find it really interesting to see what people come up with and wonder if we’ll ever see these ideas put into play.

4. Now, I haven’t checked this out yet, but New Balance has opened an “experience” store in the Flatiron district. The website doesn’t say much about what the experience is, and they talk a lot (exclusively) about dropping batons around the city on their FB page (I have no idea what this means), but I think I’ll check out the store soon and see what it’s all about.

5. Speaking of stores, have any of you New Yorkers reading this been to either of the Athleta stores that opened uptown? I wish they had opened one below 57th St, but from Fit Chick In The City’s review, I know I need to visit one of them soon. I mean, have any of you heard of in-store alterations at a fitness wear store before?

  • What are you up to this weekend?
  • If you had a free day to do whatever you want, what would you do?
  • What does your dream supermarket look like?
  • Have you been to the New Balance Experience Store or either of the Athleta stores? What do you think?


Wednesday’s workout -

  • 3 mile run
  • 125 ab exercises
  • 2x15 squats
  • 2x20 lateral arm raise
  • stretching

Thursday’s workout -

  • 4 mile run
  • 100 ab exercises
  • 2x20 resistance band woodchops
  • 4x10 monster walks
  • stretching

Today’s workout -

  • Stretching. Rest day.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Return of Five for Friday

What a long week. Everyone in my office seems to be exhausted this week, and I'm right there along with the rest of them. This weekend will be all about relaxing and recharging. 

1. Have you heard about the McDonald's revamp? The fast food leader announced earlier this week that it's making moves to improve the nutritional value of their offerings. This will start with changes to the happy meals first, and the addition of nutritional messaging in all marketing to children. Then by 2020 (yes, 9 years from now) the company has pledged to "reduce added sugars, saturated fat and calories through varied portion sizes, reformulations and innovations." Lastly, McDonald's will increase access to nutritional information for customers and employees. I like that they're making information easier to find, that they're going to automatically include apples in happy meals, and they're going to reduce sugar, saturated fats and calories (who wants to bet they won't reduce prices when they reduce the portion sizes?) but there is still a lot lacking here and people will still be eating this stuff way more often than they should be. The thing that disappoints me the most about this is that Dara Torres has signed on to be McDonald's celebrity spokesperson. For someone in such good shape, this really doesn't seem like a smart fit for her.

If you want more info, check out these links:
McDonald's Press Release
Reaction from Small Bites
Slate's take on the changes
Marion Nestle's take

2. Next weekend there are a few cool things happening in NYC. The first is Escape To Yoga Island, sponsored by Lululemon. A day of yoga classes and music on Governor's Island, just off the southern tip of Manhattan. Grab your yoga mat, sunscreen, lots of water and healthy snacks, and a hat, then jump on the free ferry. There's a Facebook page where you can RSVP if you're going to attend.

3. On your way to the ferry, check out Summer Streets which starts next Saturday! I've written about this for the past two years because I think it's one of the coolest events in NYC and I love that it's continuing again this year. The city will close major streets in the city to traffic from 7am till 1pm August 6th, 13th and 20th, so people can run, bike, rollerblade, skateboard, walk between Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge! There are events along the route each weekend including fittings for free bike helmets, free bike and rollerblade rentals, an REI adventure zone, a Whole Foods picnic and a lot more. It's a great time to get out and have fun with family and friends, and it is pretty incredible to run through the Helmsley Building at 42nd St! It's a great time, trust me. My parents will be visiting and we plan on showing them the fun!

4. You may have noticed that it's been pretty hot in most parts of the country lately. Whether you're doing yoga outdoors, running or just walking around, be sure to take it easy, stay hydrated and adjust your exercise to account for the high temps and humidity. Also, be sure to stay hydrated even when you're not exercising. Drinking plenty of water throughout the week is key to staying healthy. Check THIS out for Runner's World's tips on running in the heat.

5. I'm going to leave you with an amusing video. Woody is a fan of Tosh.0. I'm more often slightly offended by him than amused by him, and this clip from a recent episode is a combination.

Tosh.0Tuesdays 10pm / 9c
The $150,000 Tosh.0 Marathon
Tosh.0 VideosDaniel ToshWeb Redemption
  • What's on tap for your weekend?
  • How do you get through training runs in the heat?
Yesterday's workout -
35min bike
2x20 hip abductor
2x18 seated row
175 ab exercises

Today's workout -
none. much needed rest day.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Runners World Wisdom

Last Thursday was a somewhat tough day, but once I found the new issue of Runner's World in our mailbox, my day turned around quickly. For some reason, it always seems to brighten my day, even on days that are already pretty good. Although it has been harder to enjoy when I've been injured, the pages always hold inspiring stories, tips and new ideas.  

Saturday afternoon I grabbed an iced coffee from Jack's Coffee on Front Street (delicious), found a seat along the new section of the East River Esplanade near our apartment and read RW cover to cover. I have to say, this issue was pretty good.

A few articles, in particular, caught my eye...
1. The Athlete's Palate recipe by Rocco DiSpirito - Tortilla Soup with Avocado.
I posted about this on Tuesday, so check HERE if you want to see how it turned out. 

2. The Heat is On by John Hanc. This article is about a guy who wanted to find out the best hydration and training plan for running in hot weather. So he works with some professionals and signs up for the Hottest Half in Dallas, TX. Has anyone run this? If you ask me, anyone who does has a little bit of crazy in them! Anyway, the techniques John uses to train and prep for the race are pretty interesting and thankfully he learned some great lessons from doing it. If nothing else, there are some really important facts and warning signs that all runners should know before heading out in the hot summer sun!

3. Fastinista! by Sarah Bowen Shea. Okay, I must be out of the loop more than I know because I have never heard the terms "fastinista" or "stunners." Have you? When I first flipped through the magazine this article stood out. I thought I'd see a picture of Tall Mom! The history of some of the 'newer' companies designer running gear for women was really interesting; and the map of San Fran made me want to buy a plane ticket and spend a day (or two) shopping! I loved reading about See Jane Run, since I'm running the 5K in Seattle in less than two weeks!

4. The whole section on the economics of races is incredibly fascinating. As one of the thousands of people who have shelled out quite a few hard earned dollars to run the NYCM and someone who is really interested in the behind-the-scenes of racing, reading about how the money is spent, is good to know. It's a well-known fact that races are costing more money to produce each year, but it's still nice to see how our money, and the money they spend, is put to use. The one thing that I wondered about is why the NYC Marathon had to spend $2.5million in 2010 to attract elites to the race. Seems like a lot to me considering it's one of the world's premiere marathons, but hey, that might just be me! According to the economist, we get more than our monies worth from the races we enter. I just wish we could choose whether or not we want the cotton t-shirt or not, but I do understand that's part of the deals races make with sponsors.

5. Your First Half by Bob Cooper. While the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon in October will not be my first half marathon, I have to take into consideration the injuries I've had over the past year and be smart about my training. I jumped in too fast when I started training for the Broad Street 10Miler and we all know where that landed me! This article lays out a smart 10 week first-timer training plan that I'm going to try. I had been looking for a plan, so this was perfect timing for me! Sports Doc told me that because I have osteopenia I need to start training long before the typical runner, so I'm going to start this week. Yep, this week. And the race isn't till October. I need some structure in my life when it comes to running and I've been without that for a while now. Hopefully this will get me on the right track to a successful run to Canada and back!

  • Do you love or loathe hot weather running?
  • Are you a 'fastinista'? Have you ever heard of that term?
  • Do you follow a training plan devised by someone else or do you create your own? Or do you not follow a plan?
Don't forget to enter the Oiselle Birds Tee giveaway HERE.
Today's workout -
None. Much needed rest day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hot 'n Spicy was your 4th of July?!?! Did you have a great long weekend busy with friends & family, or just hanging out like Woody and I did?

On the 4th, we went running in Central Park then walked through the (quiet for NYC) streets to Times Square before getting on the subway to head downtown. Then we hit up a typical NYC street fair where I got the grilled corn and Woody got this delicious looking dish from a Turkish booth.

Later we walked over to the Esplanade on the west side. It was much busier than we had expected, but it was a beautiful day out so I guess we shouldn't have been surprised. We had to have our picture taken with Lady Liberty in the background!

For dinner, we enjoyed a picnic in our 'secret' garden near our apartment. It was a nice and relaxing evening before we watched the Macy's Fireworks from the comfort of our couch!

Sunday afternoon when it was pretty gross outside, I did some more cooking! I haven't really cooked a meal for a while, as much as I wish I could consider throwing salads together 'cooking' so it was about time I did something!

Every issue of Runner's World includes a recipe from a well-known chef under the Athlete's Palate. In February I tried Marc Bittman's Mac & Cheese recipe; Sunday I gave Rocco DiSpirito's Tortilla Soup with Avocado.

The thing about this recipe is that it sounded spicy. "Fire-roasted tomatoes," "chipotle chiles in adobo sauce," "hot fresh salsa." I like a little heat, but not a lot. Woody, on the other hand, thinks the hotter, the better. It's easier to add heat than take it out though, so I went a little light when I put this together. The recipe can be found on page 48 of the August issue of Runner's World.

While putting this together, I noticed...
1. It ended up more chili like than soup like as it was pretty thick & chunky. 
2. This was even by using a whole can of diced tomatoes rather than just 1 cup and adding a little extra low-sodium chicken broth.
3. While I think our chipotle powder from Penzey's is more heat than spicy, the chipotle chiles were actually really spicy.
4. Corn fresh off the cob was delicious.
5. Because the recipe calls for low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth, skinless chicken breast, and other healthy ingredients like tomatoes (go for diced tomatoes and salsa that's low in sodium), and healthy fats like avocado, this is a healthy meal with a lot of flavor.
6. The only way this recipe actually makes four servings is if they're really small servings. With adding extra chicken broth and tomatoes, and dishing out 1cup of soup each, there is only about one extra serving.

While this was thicker and a little hotter than I expected, we both thought it had great texture and was very flavorful. Topped with avocado and corn tortilla strips, I'm sure I'll make this again. Oh, and because it can be served hot or cold it's great for any season!

Later that night, Woody ate an entire chipotle chili on a tortilla chip and said "actually, I don't think it's that bad. A little hot, but not that bad." I'm in awe of his ability to eat spicy foods!
  • What was the best part of your weekend?
  • Do you love going out to watch fireworks or do you prefer to watch from home?
  • Spicy or mild?
Check back tomorrow - I have a giveaway in store!!
Today's workout -
35min elliptical
125 ab exercises
1x40sec plank
2x15 donkey kicks
2x18 resistance band woodchops
2x20 upright row
2x15 squats

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Going G-Free

The same weekend I went on crutches, I went off gluten.

I know several people who have Celiac Disease or are gluten-intolerant. I always felt bad for them, because I have a deep love for bread, pastries and cupcakes. I could never live without bread. How would I enjoy a grilled veggie sandwich? A gyro isn't a gyro without the pita! And what about my beloved chocolate chip cookies? No. I couldn't live without gluten.

Oh, how things have changed.

I was curious one day and did a little research on Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. Turns out the symptoms are quite diverse and those who suffer from these conditions can have any combination of symptoms. I have to mention that just because someone suffers from some of the symptoms for any of these conditions, doesn't mean they have an aversion to gluten because these symptoms are common of other health issues as well. The only way to really know if you have Celiac, are gluten intolerant or have a wheat allergy, is to be tested (which I haven't done yet).

I am in no way whatsoever, an expert on CD, gluten intolerance or wheat allergy, but according to, a few of the symptoms of CD include:
  • IBS
  • Early onset Osteopenia/Osteoporosis
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility
  • Depression
  • Migraine headaches
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Vitamin deficiencies 
  • and others....
Noticing that I suffer from some of the symptoms listed for CD and gluten intolerance, I decided to give it a try. Why not? As much as I love bread, if I feel better, then it's worth it.

Except for a few times when I unknowingly ate gluten until it was too late, I haven't had gluten since April 17th. I will not tell a lie, I have had some pretty intense sandwich cravings and Woody has had to listen to be whine about it. (and when he called me out on it, I quickly rebutted with "don't tell me you wouldn't do the same if you couldn't eat sandwiches!" To which he agreed that I was probably right!)

It has definitely been an interesting switch and has made eating out a little difficult. It's been eye opening to learn how many food items actually have gluten in them. It has been good though, because I can't eat sweets like I did, and it's easier to turn them down knowing that I won't feel well the next day than just turning them down because "I shouldn't." I seem to be eating cleaner, more healthy meals because I can't fall back on certain "easy" meals.

I have a lot to learn about the g-free diet, but I'm willing to learn. I know it's really important to be tested because Celiac Disease is much more intense than gluten intolerance, but right now I don't plan on going through it. With all the medical tests I've had over the last few years, I have grown a special kind of intolerance to them and I'm not ready to start a whole new round of them just yet. So, for now I will keep gluten off my plate and see how I feel.

Thankfully it seems oats don't bother my stomach, so at least I can still enjoy a big bowl of yogurt mess in the morning (with my homemade granola, of course!)! Small miracles! (By the way, I am enjoying dairy again after taking a break from it. Maybe this will just be a break from gluten. Who knows!)

A few of my G-free meals:

And another small miracle, we have great gluten free bakeries in this little town of ours!

I had a great workout today! I'd say it ranks as one of my best workouts in the past several months, actually. Unfortunately it wasn't a run, but my legs had good power on the elliptical and I felt equal levels of strength and exhaustion during my strength session. What makes it even better is that I was almost a zombie in the elevator and walking to the gym. I think Woody and I said a total of 10 words to each other from the time we woke up to the time we checked in at the gym. This day is now off to a good start!
  • Do you have Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance? What has helped you adjust to the lifestyle?
  • What gets your day off to a good start?
Today's workout -
35min elliptical
100 crunches
1x40sec plank
2x12 side push-ups (I have no idea what this is really called!)
2x13 leg curl
2x16 let extension
2x18 weighted side bends
1x25sec laying leg lift (again, no idea what the real name is!)
foam roller

Friday, June 3, 2011

Five for Friday

I love how we just finished a great weekend and another one is almost here!

1. You may have heard some of the excitement yesterday about the unveiling of the new USDA Nutrition Plate, which has replaced the Food Pyramid. 
I was poking around to find out a little more about this new icon and found a few 'selected messages for consumers' that I found interesting.
  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains.
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals - and choose the foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
All great tips, and to me, it sounds like the USDA is finally recommending that people not eat (or drink) some types of unhealthy foods. But, interesting enough, none of these messages say anything about high fat foods, or at least ones high in saturated fats. At first glance, this new icon looks much easier to interpret. Funny because I've seen many nutritionists use pictures or props just like this. Nice to see the USDA catching up!

2. One of our favorite markets opens for the season this Sunday - the New Amsterdam Market near South Street Seaport. There's a lot of history with this market, even though it was just founded a few years ago. It's not the typical farmers market because there are actually very few fruit and vegetable vendors. Instead, there is coffee, wine, baked goods, kimchi, artisan jams, bread, cheese, local restaurants, chocolate and more! We're excited to check out the new vendors and visit our favorites from last year.

3. We're very lucky because there is an active chapter of the Michigan State University Alumni Association here in the city. (Actually, Woody is even on the board.) One of the board members is originally from New Jersey and when he moved back to the city after college he took the exams and became a licensed tour guide. Each year he prepares and leads several tours in different areas of the city. Saturday he's leading a chocolate tour and you know who's going to be on it! I'm not sure what chocolate shops we'll be visiting, but I'm looking forward to finding out.  I'm also definitely glad we'll be walking a few miles along the way!

4. A friend and fellow NYRR YPC member is running an ultra-marathon outside of DC this Saturday! Claudia is one of the nicest, funniest, sweetest, most genuine people I know. And so inspiring! She just ran an ultra in May and she's doing it again tomorrow! Incredible. If you have a minute, please head over to her blog HERE and wish her luck.

5. I can never stay up late enough to watch John Stewart since we get up at 5am to workout, but I do love his show. In case you didn't know, Comedy Central re-airs the previous night's show at 7pm. Wednesday night, he had a little to say about Trump and Palin's visit to a Famiglia Pizzeria in Times Square. No politics here, just humor, because a) I've never gotten a handle on the NY fold and always opt for a fork and knife, and b) we can always use a little humor and John  Stewart attempting an Italian accent.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Me Lover's Pizza With Crazy Broad
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook
  • What are you looking forward to this weekend?
Today's workout -
Just stretching. Today was a much needed rest day.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How To Slice a Carrot

Finally, I'm writing about the knife skills class!

Woody and I have been talking about taking one of these classes for a while, so he registered us for a class at Brooklyn Kitchen. In reality though, Woody doesn't really like the way I use a knife most of the time, and since he wants to keep his beautiful Wusthof knifes in great shape for years to come, so he wanted me to learn the right way to slice. Hey, I get things done but, maybe I could get them done a little quicker!

It was a bit of a trek out to Brooklyn Kitchen, but not too bad. Brendan Mcdermott, the instructor, is a chef who has worked at restaurants like Mesa Grill and Olives. His classes sell out weeks in advance, so you know he's good!

He started by teaching us the basics, like what the different types of knives are (a chef's knife is essential for all kitchens), that wood cutting boards are better than plastic, by putting a wet paper towel under the cutting board it won't slip around, how to hold a knife properly and that a honing steel should be used on a knife after every use to keep the teeth straight. I had no idea that knives have teeth!

We learned five types of vegetable cuts:
  • Dice (common small cubes)
  • Brunoise (very small cubes)
  • Batonnet ("little stick")
  • Allumette (planks)
  • Julienne (thin matchsticks)
After we took turn on celery, carrots and onions, Brendan showed us a few tricks for quickly cutting peppers and tomatoes. Then, the surprise of the evening, which I had not even imagined, he showed us how to butcher a chicken. Thankfully, this was not part of the hands on section of the class.

A few pictures from the evening:

Overall, we both learned a good deal and have put the lessons to use in the week past. I definitely think these are important skills for all home cooks to have because it makes cooking much more efficient, fun, and you can learn techniques that will make simple dishes look, and taste, great! By learning these techniques, you can make sure that all the food your cutting, say, for a roast or soup, will be close to the same size and therefore, cook in the same amount of time. Who hasn't had that experience when you took a big spoonful of the dinner you've spent hours working on only to find the potatoes aren't cooked through but the carrots are mushy? By taking a knife skills class, you won't have to worry about that again!

Because I love to share the fun, check out this YouTube video of Brendan showing how to slice & dice an onion.

  • How are your knife skills?
  • What would you most like to learn how to do in the kitchen (cooking)?
Don't forget, today is NATIONAL RUNNING DAY!! Spread the joy of running!
Today's workout -
35min elliptical
100 crunches
1x35sec plank
2x18 lateral arm raise
2x15 bicep curl
foam roller
the air conditioner at the gym hasn't worked yet this year. Let's just say it's nicer outside than in! thankfully we aren't there at the peak times!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Want Some Food Coloring With That Cheese?

Yesterday, while reading the daily email newsletter from Sugar Inc, I read about this Good Morning America segment posted on YumSugar.

It really got me thinking about the use of artificial coloring in just about everything we eat. But even more, I wonder if I could pass the taste test!

Did you know that the use of food dyes are regulated by the FDA? In 1960, Congress passed the Color Additive Amendment that required all types of additives to be regulated by the FDA. Today, there are 9 certified synthetic food dyes and the FDA only certifies dyes that are safe for use. (click HERE for more details). Because of this regulation, when used in food, the dyes have to be listed as an ingredient. (exempt, non-synthetic dyes do not have to be disclosed).

Earlier this Spring, the FDA examined the possible link between food coloring and ADHD in children. Ultimately, they decided that there was not sufficient data to confirm the link, but it did make people think about the use of artificial coloring in foods. There is some evidence of intolerance to food dyes, but these can be difficult to determine because there food dyes are so prevalent in the food we eat today and no diagnostic tests are available.

Food coloring is in almost everything we eat. As the video says, even some fruit! Food colorings are mostly used to make food look appetizing. I mean, who would be thrilled to sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner if everything looked a drab gray? This is just my guess here, but it seems that only people who eat a diet absolutely free of all processed foods. Some people do try to eat only foods without dyes or with just natural food colorings, but for most people that's pretty difficult to do.

If you were given three different bowls of pudding, each a different color but all chocolate, do you think you'd be able to pass the test?
  • What's your favorite food? Do you think you'd like it as much if it was a drab gray or brown color?
  • Are you going to participate in National Bike to Work Day tomorrow?
Wednesday's workout -
20min elliptical
2x15 lateral arm raise
2x20 bent row
2x20 lat pull down
3x15 back extension
100 crunches
foam roller

Today's workout -
20min elliptical
2x20 cable pushdown
2x20 bicep curl
2x15 tricep dip
2x15 weighted side bends
2x20 front arm raise
100 crunches
3x15 reverse crunch
lots of stretching
foam roller